Don't just work hard, work hard with purpose

I'm sure many of you will know someone like a guy I know called Simon. Simon works long hours, tries to keep fit and wants to relax at the weekend. One of the ways he likes to relax is to go for a run and he recently started training for a marathon.

Most of the people I speak to or work with have one key attribute in common; they work very hard and that's regardless of the type of career they have.

Another consistent attribute is that the majority of people who are working hard have not achieved what they set out to achieve, whether that be in terms of career or business success, financial freedom, happiness or something completely different.

And let me put both of these points in perspective; I've been coaching people for two decades and when you add up the number of people I've worked with in a professional or personal context, or spoken with in an informal setting, that's a lot of people over a lot of hours.

The fact of the matter is that you, and millions of other people like you, are working hard. You're up early, you check emails before your first cup of coffee, you work long hours, committing well over the required forty hours a week, you think about work when you're at home, you maybe even work after a long day at the office or on weekends. You're working on an important project or towards a key deadline and things will be different after that. But each time, they're not. Working hard becomes the new normal and expectations grow so you're always expected to do more, work harder and then take on more as a result. And the cycle continues in an ever increasing circle, leaving you no time to assess whether all of this hard work is getting you closer to your goals. 

One of the key differences between people who work hard and people who work hard and achieve their goals revolves around whether the work they are doing is helping them directly to get to their end goal. Each step needs to get you a step closer to what you are looking to be, do or have.

In Simon's case, he runs regularly all under the banner of preparing for the marathon. However, if we look at what he's really doing, he's expending a lot of energy on frequent short runs that are not going to help him run 26.2 miles on one single day. I'm pretty sure he could run that distance over a week, and certainly over a month, but that's not what a marathon is all about.

When I work with people I spend time understanding where they expend their energy and what they get for it in return. Typically, this process yields understanding as to how people can work for five, ten, twenty or more years and still not achieve their goals. For some people, they haven't articulated their goals yet and that makes it hard for them to understand what it will take to achieve them.

You're already working hard, so why not focus that hard work to achieve those big goals of yours? It doesn't matter what your goals are; just make sure that everything you are doing is helping you get to your goal(s) and if it's not, it's time to change, because if you're going to work hard, you may as well get what you want, otherwise, what's the point? So the next time your alarm clock wakes you and you start your daily cycle of checking emails, focusing on what you need to do at work and getting to the next deadline, ask yourself whether all of that is leading you to what you truly want in life.

Rob Whitfield is the CEO and Founder of One Brit, No Bull, a coaching and corporate training company based in Los Angeles and operating worldwide. Rob can be contacted here or on (+1) 518 9NO BULL.

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As well as being an experienced management consultant and energetic public speaker, Rob Whitfield is a certified Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a certified Master Coach and a certified Master Practitioner of Hypnotherapy and Time Line Therapy. No Bull.